I can’t think of a single day that has gone by where I didn’t listen to music. That may sound exaggerated, and perhaps pulled out of a generated phrase system, but it is nothing but truth. I had the grace of growing up with a musical father, attending performances every other weekend at local and distant venues. Live performance brings me to life, feeling the bass roar under my feet and seeing the passion among the musician’s faces as they recite. Although I personally can only play roughly 8 chords on a guitar and know approximately 3.5 songs on the piano, music has always been an outlet for me to be free.
Many artists use their stories for the inspiration behind their writing. Whether they dealt with self esteem issues, love, tragic loss, or hope, their lyrics and musical themes reflect those times. There is a misconception that writing from personal experience allows for the easiest art production, especially when it calls for complete vulnerability. For those artists that are brave enough to put their hearts out into their work, however, they often touch thousands and thousands who have been through the same defeats. This situation is the general case for most art forms, as it is used as a branch of therapy for both the artists and the audience.
Music, in my opinion, is its own form of art. The incredible amount of variability it offers allows for all emotions, all sounds, and all presentations to be achieved. Whether it be the roughness of a hip hop piece or the light sway in an orchestrated melody, every piece of music carries great feeling and inspiration. There’s no rules when it comes to music, and no medium that is right or wrong. If sounds are being produced as a result of expression or emotions, it is considered music. Some pieces are much more abstract and untraditional than others, but all music can be rooted.
One of my favorite things to create are playlists designed for specific settings. I have one that’s filled with high energy songs set for long drives along the beach with friends. I another that features only acoustics and quiet sounds for night time relaxation. Gathering songs that fit the mood I’m pressed into helps make me feel collectively at peace, even if the music selection is loud and exciting. Matching how I feel to what I listen puts me at ease, and allows me to stay settled even when there is anxiety lingering.
When I’m having a rush of feeling unsteady, I always turn to music. Most recently, being homesick and trying to adjust to the college lifestyle has been something that’s been sitting in my lap. Everytime I get built up and don’t have the opportunity to call someone from home to talk, I put in my headphones, and listen to music. The way that my heart and mind string themselves together in order to bring me back to the ground and stable is incredible, but it never fails as a therapy.
It’s crazy to think about the power of art, and how it connects to our development and our mental health. Music is something that is so accessible and can be turned to nearly anytime, and in all honesty, I think that its power is underrated. Putting headphones in when I’m walking to class, anxious for a presentation I’ve been studying for, is a form of distraction for me. Blasting upbeat playlists when hanging out, or slow and mellow ones when having ‘me time’ make every situation so much more fulfilled. The power of music is immeasurable, especially for its ability to heal.